Archives for June 2019

Hello and Goodbye: Say hello to gifted performers (and goodbye to the script)

Athol Fugard's Hello and Goodbye is at The Nest.

Riaan Smit and Deborah Vieyra impress the best way — with subtlety. (Photo by Deborah Cohen)

Athol Fugard’s 1965 scripts Hello and Goodbye largely fails as drama, but it contains two excellent roles for actors — and the performers who are taking on those parts in this production are really, really good.  [Read more…]

Shakespeare in Love: not even sustained infatuation


Bard on the Beach is presenting Shakespeare in Love

Ghazal Azarbad and Charlie Gallant make an openhearted—and comely—couple as Viola and Will.(Photo by Tim Matheson)

My experience of Shakespeare in Love at Bard on the Beach was kind of like an okay date that ended with some fantastic making out. The morning after, am I in love with this show? Nope, not by a long shot, although I’m grateful for the pleasures it offers. [Read more…]

The Taming of the Shrew refuses to be tamed

Bard on the Beach is presenting the Taming of the Shrew, directed by Lois Anderson.

In Bard on the Beach’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, the dresses are a lot more fun that the comic business. (Photo of Kate Besworth and Jennifer Lines by Tim Matheson)

Director Lois Anderson has brought us the all-yelling version of The Taming of the Shrew. It offers virtually no emotional access. And it doesn’t make sense. [Read more…]

Zastrozzi: the play is not the thing, the production is

Star & Moon Productions is presenting Georg F. Walker's Zastrozzi at the Vancity Culture Lab.

The production — including Birkett Turton’s seamless performance as Zastrozzi — is more appealing than the script.

Zastrozzi: The Master of Discipline is like a dream of cool masculinity — as conjured by a deeply reactionary 14-year-old straight boy. [Read more…]

Jerusalem: England’s green chaotic land

United Players is presenting Jerusalem by Jem Butterworth at the Jericho Arts Centre.

Rooster (Adam Henderson) and Professor (Jack Rigg) get their bacchanal on. (Photo by Nancy Caldwell)

In 2011 in a forest glade somewhere in Wiltshire, England, lives Johnny “Rooster” Byron in a trailer surrounded by trash. A middle-aged waster, he hosts alcohol- and drug-laced parties for the local teenagers. There’s a new housing estate nearby and the town council wants him evicted. But Rooster is part of a mystical English lineage. He is a Green Man, a nature god, the embodiment of rejuvenating vitality and chaos. “I’ve seen oak trees cry,” he says. “I’ve heard beeches sing hymns.” Two of the girls in his pack are named Tanya and Pea, evoking Titania and Peasblossom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Frustrated with the hypocritical townsfolk who want him gone, Rooster rails, “What the hell do you think an English forest is for?”

Jez Butterworth’s script is hilariously freewheeling and sometimes thrilling. And director Kathleen Duborg’s mostly amateur production for United Players is astonishingly well realized. [Read more…]

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